What is DNA testing for medication efficacy?

A DNA test for medications specifically tests your genetics to identify differences in your genes or chromosomes. This test looks for certain variations in your genes known to affect multiple different medications for cancer, infectious diseases, hypertension, heart failure, psychological issues such as ADHD or depression, anticoagulation, and dozens more.  Genetic testing for medication efficacy will help determine which medicines should be avoided and which may be appropriate to try. Reduce the potential for side effects and increase the chances of success by knowing the results of your gene test for medications prior to starting a new therapy. Pharmacogenetics testing provides life-long information that can be applied to all future medication discussions.

Gene testing for medications specifically examines the known genes that can affect our medicines. These analyses do not normally provide information on genetic diseases, ancestry, or other traits; but instead on how our body processes chemicals. Pharmacogenetics testing directs attention to specific gene variations known for affecting medicines. Gene testing for medications will use the current knowledge of pharmacogenetics to predict how your body may respond to a medicine. The results of the test will not change any more often than other physical traits you have because your genes do not change.

The efficacy of a medication, or how well a medicine does what it is intended to do, can be altered greatly by our genes. A DNA test for medication efficacy looks for specific gene variations known to affect the absorption, distribution, metabolism, and excretion of greater than 230 different medicines. If your genes block or change how a medicine is absorbed, then that medication may not even enter your body. If your genes alter the expected distribution of the medicine throughout the body, then it may never arrive at the site that is supposed to be treated. If it is metabolized differently, then your medicine may end up never becoming active or being inactivated too quickly. If your body doesn’t excrete the medicine as expected, then you are at increased risk of toxicity and may need a smaller dose; or alternately it may leave your body too quickly and you may require more frequent dosing. Knowing ahead of time how your body may treat a particular medication can help guide your physician to a more effective and safer medication.

How does pharmacogenetics allow for the development of personalized medicines?

Pharmacogenetics testing is an integral part of the development of personalized medicines. Ongoing pharmacogenetics research tests new and old medicines for their effects on multiple variations in our genetics.

Our genes have naturally occurring variations referred to as polymorphisms. Polymorphisms are variations in our genetics that are found frequently. Knowing that a certain population of people is more likely to have a certain polymorphism can help determine more appropriate medications. However, polymorphisms do occur even amongst the same population. For instance, you may know that your family history shows an issue with certain cholesterol-lowering medications. While you are likely to have a similar issue due to your close genetic relationship, there is still the possibility that you may do fine on that medicine. Your pharmacogenetics will have similarities with your close genetic family members, but they will also have differences making you unique. Those differences may make a difference in the benefits of your medications.

Research and development companies can now predict how medications are affected by our genes. Knowing certain polymorphisms may benefit over others, clinical trials can now manufacture drugs that are for more specific populations. Enrolling patients for the trial that have the specific genetic variation can reduce the size and cost potential of doing the clinical trial. Also, removing patients without the variation being studied in the trial can increase the odds of a medication being approved for the appropriate population. Then if the drug is approved, educating prescribers on who will most likely benefit, allows for better medication therapy and more appropriate personalized medicine.

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How is pharmacogenetics being used to help doctors prescribe medicine?

Gene testing for medications helps you and your doctor choose medicines that are more likely to work well in your body. Doctors have historically chosen medications based on their past experiences, on the limited information they were given in school, or by the representatives of the company that sells the medicine. Now, with your DNA test for medications, your doctor has more power to help you heal and fewer reasons to go with what has always been done. The doctor now can treat you as the individual that you are. Medicines have evolved greatly and now, with personalized medicine, health care is evolving. There is no longer a need to go through multiple medicines at multiple doses through trial and error. Ordering a genetics test for medications can easily prevent future problems when choosing a medication. In addition, the knowledge learned by doing the can be applied to your current medication thereby helping improve your current health.

When the right medication for the right person is used first patients have:

  • Better adherence
  • Improved outcomes
  • Improved patient/provider relationships
  • Improved trust in the health system
  • Quicker relief from symptoms
  • Reduced hospitalizations
  • Reduced medical bills

There are now hundreds of medications known to be affected by our genes and your doctors can now predict which medicines may work better for you. Medications affected by your genetics fall in every category, including but not limited to:

  • Anticoagulation
  • Blood pressure
  • Cancer
  • Cholesterol
  • Heart
  • HIV
  • Psychiatry, including depression, ADHD, and others
  • Seizures

The variations found in your genetics test for medications can help your prescriber reduce the potential for toxicity, find a better starting dosage, and pick a medicine that has the most potential efficacy.

ClarityX offers medically certified pharmacogenetics testing that your doctor can use right away to improve your current medication regimen. Choosing to do this DNA test for medications can help you save money and feel better. If you have a new diagnosis and your doctor is considering starting you on treatment, then having the genetics test for medications done right away may greatly help. The MaxRx pharmacogenetics test provides information on more than 265 FDA-approved medications, is easy to do (just a cheek swab) and is simple to understand.